That could change on Sunday during the Brazilian Grand Prix, the final race of his triumphant career.
Schumacher guarantees he will be completely focused during the race, but admits there will be moments during the day when he “might even get emotional.”
F1’s most successful driver, Schumacher will be retiring for the second time in a career spanning 19 seasons. He had left F1 in 2006, but returned in 2010 with Mercedes.
His struggles with the team continued on Saturday, though, and he will start only 13th in the season finale at Interlagos.
Schumacher said the only thing on his mind when the race starts will be his driving. He won’t be thinking about this being his last time in an F1 car.
“I know I will not, that’s me,” he said. “When in the car I’m focusing 100 percent on what I’m doing.”
But there will be times which will likely get the best of his emotions.
“Maybe in certain moments such as going to the grid, after the race, when the checkered flag is down,” he said. “Yeah, there will be moments that I will think about it. And who knows, I might even be emotional in those moments.”
The last time Schumacher retired he didn’t have much time to think about anything other than racing, as he reached the finale in Interlagos still fighting for the championship.
“Now it’s different,” he said. “I’m a little bit more cool and relaxed about it.”
He said there will be some sort of relief when it’s all over.
He hopes to go out on a good note.
“It’s not important just climbing out of the car tomorrow by the end of the race, it’s important what position I might do, so obviously, the better the more exciting it will be. From where I come, there’s going to be some excitement.”
He is hoping for some rain to increase his chances of moving up the grid. The forecast is for a wet race.
“I very much look forward to this because it offers a lot more opportunities,” the German driver said.
Schumacher will leave F1 with unmatched numbers. He is the driver with the most wins (91), pole positions (68), fastest laps (77) and most podium finishes (155).
Barely any of that success has come since he returned to F1 with Mercedes. He is only 15th in this year’s drivers’ standings, and has only one podium finish since coming out of retirement, at the European GP in July.
His fans are not showing any disappointment about his recent struggles, though. The stands at Interlagos were packed with banners and signs honoring and congratulating Schumacher on Saturday. There were more signs for Schumacher than for home-crowd favorite Felipe Massa.
“Obviously I’m feeling touched about that,” he said. “That is a very nice gesture from all those fans and people that love their motorsport. They sort of like what I was doing in all these years, so certainly it’s a good feeling.”
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